Bengal rights group moves NHRC for rape-accused BSF man's arrest

Kolkata, Aug 23 : A rights body Friday moved the National Human Rights Commission demanding an independent probe and arrest of BSF trooper allegedly involved in committing "sexual offence" on a Bangladeshi woman last month.

Drawing the NHRC chairman's attention to the incident at the village of Khedapara in North 24 Parganas district of West Bengal, the NGO MASUM alleged the Border Security Force (BSF) trooper "raped" the woman in front of her six-year-old son when she was trying to cross the India-Bangladesh border July 11.

"In this awful incident the BSF personnel committed rape on the woman in front of her six-year- old son. The woman was trying to cross the Indo-Bangladesh border near the Angrail BSF camp under Gaighata Police station with her husband and minor son after reaching the place from Mumbai where her husband used to work as the helper of a mason," said the letter from Kirity Roy, secretary, MASUM.

He said the family, living in penury, used to cross the border on and off to visit their native village and their workplace.

The victim later lodged a police complaint and was produced before a court and then sent to correctional home with her minor son and husband.

Roy said the BSF action of producing the victim in a court was a violation under the Foreigners' Act in the country.

"The incident must be investigated by an independent agency with urgency and the BSF personnel must be arrested at once," demanded the letter.

Roy also sought compensation for the victim and that she be transferred - along with her minor son - to any care home from the correctional home (prison).

"Her safety and security must be ensured and any interference by police and BSF must be checked during the whole investigation process," he said.

The incident comes amid the outcry in both Bangladesh and India over the fatal shooting of a 15-year-old girl Felani who was trying to cross the international border at Chaudharihat in Dinhata, Cooch Behar, along with her father in January 2011.

Gruesome pictures of the body hanging upside down on the barbed wire fence spread across cyberspace, leading to all-round condemnation.

The BSF has set up a five-member court of inquiry headed by its deputy inspector general (Falakata), while the alleged perpetrator has been charged with culpable homicide not amounting to murder.

Felani's father Nurul Islam deposed before the BSF court last Saturday. According to reports, statements of 10 out of 16 witnesses have been recorded.

--IANS (Posted on 23-08-2013)

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